2017 NHL Free Agency: Day one notes and analysis
Day one has free agency has come and gone (for the most part). Some big names still remain on the board, however many have already vanished. Here are some of my notes and analysis from the first wave of the frenzy.
• Ryan Miller is a solid backup for the Ducks. He brings a true veteran presence behind John Gibson, which is something that had been absent in the past. This is a perfect fit for both player and team.
• The Coyotes added journeyman defenseman Adam Clendening on a one-year deal. This signing will prove as a low-risk, high-reward scenario.
• The Coyotes, however, also lost a lot of depth players, including Josh Jooris and Radim Vrbata. Chayka is banking significantly on internal progression up front from the likes of Perlini and Dvorak.
• The Hurricanes added a nice piece in Justin Williams. The veteran winger formerly played in Carolina and won a Cup with them in ’06. Is his and Scott Darling’s presence enough to boost Carolina back into the playoffs? They certainly look like a solid team right now.
• The Blackhawks continued their parade of bringing back former players, as they signed Patrick Sharp to a one-year deal. The base salary is $1 million but he can earn bonuses based on a number of factors. If he stays healthy, this will be a great value signing for Bowman.
• The Blackhawks also added two depth players to round out their bottom six on day one. Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels both agreed to one-year deals. Neither are flashy players, however both can hold their own offensively and physically.
• The Stars brought in Martin Hanzal to finish their center core headed into next season. They now have Hanzal, Seguin, Spezza, and Faksa down the middle. It’s definitely one of the best groups in the league. All four players can thrive in all situations.
• Detroit brought in Trevor Daley on a three-year deal at $3 million per. It is not a backbreaking deal, but Ken Holland needs to commit to a full rebuild. Detroit does not have the assets currently to compete. Moves like this are doing more harm than good.
• The Panthers, who came into the day with eight forwards signed, added Evgeny Dadonov from Russia and Radim Vrbata from Arizona. Dadonov is the more promising addition, but both players provide a scoring threat regardless. Dadonov was originally drafted by the Panthers in 2007 and played 55 games with them before returning to the KHL. He had 66 points in 53 games there last year.
• Karl Alzner’s deal with Montreal was surprisingly reasonable money wise. Keeping him under $5 million for five years is very nice. Still, though, I’m surprised he didn’t wind up in Western Canada. I think Calgary getting Hamonic and keeping Stone hurt that.
• The Predators had an interesting day, inking Scott Hartnell and Nick Bonino. Some had a problem with the money ($4.1 million per) on Bonino’s deal, but the Predators had to make a move. Losing Neal and not pushing for Duchene or Thornton made Bonino a prime target.
• On a related note, I wonder if Peter Laviolette personally petitioned for the Scott Hartnell acquisition.
• The Devils got Brian Boyle on a two-year deal. Their center core now looks like Boyle, Zajac, Hischier, and Henrique. That can compete with anyone in the league. Albeit, they are still a few years away from contention due to their wingers and defense.
• The Rangers fulfilled the prophecy and added Kevin Shattenkirk on a four-year contract late this afternoon. It fills a huge need for them, and as an added bonus he is of the opposite hand of Ryan McDonagh. That would be one heck of a pairing.
• The Flyers getting Brian Elliott is a perfect stopgap while their prized goalie prospects, specifically Carter Hart, develop in juniors and the AHL. It also seems that Ron Hextall and company do not have any faith in Anthony Stolarz. I wonder if he will get moved at some point this season.
• The Penguins signed Matt Hunwick to a three-year deal worth over $2 million per season. He is a reliable #6 defenseman, but that contract is ridiculous. Plain and simple, he isn’t worth that kind of money.
• The Sharks brought back Joe Thornton for one year but Patrick Marleau still remains undecided. I bet that would leave a sour taste in Thornton’s mouth moving forward if Marleau left.
• The Lightning added Dan Girardi for two years and Chris Kunitz for one year. Girardi has a chance to revitalize his career under Cooper. Kunitz, a four-time champion, can help try to push Tampa Bay over the edge.
* The Leafs did a good job adding depth in Ron Hainsey and Dominic Moore. The most important outcome was that no spot will be taken away from one of their younger players.
• The Canucks made a few signings, Sam Gagner, Anders Nilsson, and Michael Del Zotto included, today. Not bad players and they have the chance to be flipped down the road if they perform well enough.
• The Jets adding Steve Mason is a very nice move. It gives Eric Comrie a chance to develop and Connor Hellebuyck a more subdued role. The Jets also added Kulikov on defense. They aren’t looking to shabby for next season.
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